Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades announced on Saturday that he is running for reelection in the Presidential Elections of January 2018. Speaking during an event organized at the Philoxenia Conference Centre, in Nicosia, Anastasiades said he will run for a second term in office, with a view to fulfill his vision to bring about peace in Cyprus, give new opportunities and hope to young people, fulfill the modernization of the state`s structures, effectively address the problems of the vulnerable groups of the population and successfully conclude the country`s energy plans.
He also noted that if he is elected this will be his last term in office, during which he will work with passion, persistence, determination and strong will for cooperation with everyone.
The first round of the presidential elections will take place on the 28th of January 2018 and the second round on the 4th of February 2018.
Anastasiades elaborated in his speech on his government`s five year work. He vowed that the reunification of Cyprus continues to be his primary goal, noting that both views that a Cyprus settlement can only be achieved through concessions by the Greek Cypriot side and that excessive requirements must be put forward in order to achieve a solution, are dangerous.
Anastasiades said that the undesired conclusion of the recent negotiations in Crans Montana, which began in a promising way approximately two and a half years ago have reasonably led to disappointment and bitterness, adding, however that he never allowed any disappointment or bitterness to reduce his persistence to achieve his goals.
“I believe that we worked to reach a settlement more than anyone else, and we achieved some positive developments not only for our side but for all the people of Cyprus,” he noted.
He stressed that a settlement of the Cyprus problem must not create winners and losers, noting that any extreme actions are dangerous and create insecurity and instability.
Anastasiades recalled that he conveyed to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres his readiness to continue the negotiations with a view to achieve a settlement that will respond to the expectations of all the people of Cyprus, including the Turkish Cypriots.
He noted that the people will have the final say as regards the solution, and noted that mutual respect must prevail. Furthermore, Anastasiades stressed the need for everyone to recognize that a solution must not serve third countries, but the interests of the people of Cyprus.
Anastasiades expressed the belief that Turkey, which is currently facing a series of problems, will soon realise that a settlement in Cyprus based on the right positions will serve her own interests.
Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. The latest round of UN-backed negotiations, in Crans – Montana, Switzerland, ended inconclusively at the beginning of July 2017.
Referring to the country`s foreign policy, Anastasiades said that it is not one-dimensional, noting that “we turned our homeland into a pillar of stability and security in the Eastern Meditteranean”. He also noted that the Republic of Cyprus impact in the international scene is today much bigger than its geographical size.
“We have paved a reliable and comprehensive strategy both at the international and regional levels, with a view to use Cyprus` EU membership and the Republic of Cyprus geostrategic role in the region in the best possible way,” he noted
Anastasiades stressed that “through our foreign policy we have upgraded our relations with all neighbouring countries, by establishing bilateral or trilateral regular meetings with Greece, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority.”
“At the same time,” he added, “we have deepened our relations with all the countries of the Arabian Gulf.
“We are actively engaged in the European Union affairs, proving in practice our role as the bridge of Europe with the broader Middle East region,” he noted.
He also referred to Cyprus` active participation in the Summits of the EU Southern European countries (MED7) with the participation of the Heads of State and Government of France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Malta.
He also noted that Cyprus has upgraded its relations with all UN Security Council permanent member states and many other countries.
As regards the energy sector, Anastasiades said that the reinforcement of the Republic of Cyprus prestige worldwide as well as Cyprus` geostrategic role as a Europan energy centre “allowed us to successfully follow our energy plans, with a view to use our country`s natural resources in the best possible way.”
With regard to the economy, the President said that “during these five difficult years we aimed at `tidying up` the state, restoring our financial sector and attracting investments.” Furthermore he elaborated on certain social policies which the government implemented.
Anastasiades said that by working with seriousness, hard and through the sacrifices made, “we managed to exit the Memorandum (Economic Adjustment Programme for Cyprus) sonner than the international community anticipated. We are once again out in the markets and we are borrowing money with the lowest rates ever. After 22 consecutive downgrades of the economy today we are just one step before the investment grade,” he remarked.
Furthermore he noted that while in 2013 Cyprus had a negative growth rate of 6.5%, now the Cypriot economy is for three consecutive years on a stable growth track. We expect the growth rate to be over 3.6%, which is one of the highest in Europe, he added.